A/N: Okay, it's been, like, two years since I last updated this, and I'm really super-super-sorry. You can all flame me if you want, but ONLY for being late. :P Anyway, I've finally finished it; here's the last chapter. Oh, and for some reason all my cute little stars and separators have disappeared and I don't know what to do about it... if anyone would like to inform me as to how to get those back, I'd love to know. So... read it!
It's Oliver POV!
Ch. 12 – It Always Gets Better
Oliver was sitting between Katie and George the next evening at dinner when Dumbledore stood up and tapped his spoon against a goblet. Oliver knew what this would be about. Just that day he'd been asked about Katie's "condition" three times, and Katie had received a hate-note from one of the chubbier Hogwarts students.
"It has come to my attention that rumors are spreading around Hogwarts," Dumbledore began gravely, and at least half the school glanced in the direction of the Gryffindor table. "The severity of these accusations placed on one of our students is appalling to me, and I promise that whoever started these will be caught and formally tried."
Oliver looked over at Flint, who was rolling his eyes and muttering something to a new-found girlfriend. She giggled.
"Now, every one of you needs to know that these rumors were made simply to attack the victim, and have no truth in them. If they continue to circulate, I will be forced to expel those who are persistent – or stupid - enough to continue them. With that over, please enjoy your dinner." The headmaster nodded and seated himself.
Oliver half-smiled. Already many of the Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs were looking ashamed, and a younger Gryffindor passed a note to Katie saying he was sorry for believing the rumors. The feelings didn't include any of the Slytherins, but there was nothing Oliver could do about that.
Next to him, Katie squirmed a little. He looked over and sighed inwardly; of course, she hadn't touched any food. She was so tiny now, and so frail, Oliver was afraid to even touch her or she might break. He'd liked – no, loved her since his third year, and now it was his seventh. He would be graduating at the end of the year, and then Puddlemere United would take over. How could he live when the girl he loved was killing herself? 'I have to talk to her tonight,' he decided, and he, Katie, the Weasleys, Leesh, and Lina all left the Great Hall.
"I have a meeting with my parents, Dumbledore, and a wizard councilor tonight," Katie told Oliver that evening while they were doing their Potions homework. She looked incredibly worried, and Oliver realized that she'd written only two words down on her parchment – her name.
"Don't worry about it," Oliver replied soothingly. "Your parents are going to support you, and now you'll really be able to get the help you need."
Katie nodded rather reluctantly. After another hour or so, she got up and left Gryffindor tower, staring at the floor and looking a little green.
'I can't tell Katie tonight,' Oliver thought sadly. 'I'll tell her tomorrow morning, during breakfast.'
"Hey Ol, up for a game of wizard's chess?" Fred asked, and with an almost-real smile Oliver consented.
Katie entered the Gryffindor common room late that night to find it almost deserted. The only person there had fallen asleep on the couch by the fire. His mouth hung open slightly, and a Quidditch book on Puddlemere United lay on the floor.
The meeting had gone only slightly better than expected. Katie's parents didn't talk to each other, but agreed to help however they could. The wizard councilor, Mary Ann Lemens, had promised Katie that she would hate the first six months, but after that it would get better.
Katie smiled at the sleeping figure. "Dammit, Oliver, you're the only person in the world that could be so kind to me," she whispered. She covered him with a blanket, kissed him softly ('He'll never know'), and headed upstairs to go to sleep.
'What a weird dream,' Oliver thought the next morning while he changed into fresh clothes in his dormitory. He'd dreamt Katie had kissed him, but of course that wasn't possible. ...Was it?
Oliver dismissed the thought and, after carefully combing his hair, headed downstairs to find Miss Bell. She was sitting by herself, still trying to finish her Potions homework. Most everyone else had gone to breakfast.
"Katie, c-can we talk?" Oliver asked sheepishly, sitting down. 'Did I just stutter?'
"Sure," Katie said, almost as warily.
"Listen Kate, I... I have a confession to make." To avoid her eyes he looked down at his hands, suddenly realizing his hands were shaking. Quickly he balled them up and hoped she hadn't noticed.
Katie's eyes widened. "What's wrong?"
'She thinks I'm gay,' Oliver suddenly realized, and actually started laughing. Katie looked peeved.
"Right, sorry." Oliver cleared his throat, calmed down, licked his lips, and cleared his throat again. "Katie... we've been friends for a long time."
"Yes... we have."
"A-and I think it's time to let you know... Katie..." 'This isn't going as planned,' Oliver suddenly thought. So, he did what any normal boy should do, and leaned over and kissed his love. At first she was tense, but she quickly softened, and soon her lips were parted and the two were rather enjoying themselves in the common room. Suddenly Katie pulled away.
"Did I do something wrong?" Oliver asked quickly.
"No, I was just wondering... You're not gay, right?"
Oliver smiled and, in response, sank into her lips once more. As they broke for a breath, Katie whispered, "I guess that means no."
Oliver smiled again, laying kisses on her neck and ear. "That definitely means no."
Mary Ann Lemens hadn't been lying; the rest of the school year was worse than hell. Katie honestly didn't believe that she could have started eating again without the help of her friends: the Weasley twins, Leesh and Lina, and, of course, Oliver. There had been days when Katie felt like crying, dying, bashing her head into a wall, or doing all three, but Oliver wouldn't let that happen, and by the time the last day of school arrived, she felt like maybe she really could survive the summer.
"Oh Merlin, this crumb cake is delicious!" Lina gushed, practically inhaling an enormous wedge of cake. "Have you tried this, Katie?"
Katie laughed. "Well, I was going to, but seeing as most of your cake is down your front, I don't know how much I want to now!"
Lina didn't even take notice to the slight insult; she brushed her shirt off and reached for the juice jug.
"Hey, try this orange juice Angelina, it's the best I've ever tasted!" George suggested, shoving the jug into Lina's arms and winking conspiratorially at Katie.
Angelina, oblivious to the wink, poured herself a glass and took a sip. "It takes normal to me, George," she said. Suddenly her eyes widened and she thumped her chest roughly as though trying to dislodge something.
"George! What did you do to her?" Alicia asked, suddenly frantic.
Glaring daggers at George, who was laughing so hard he snorted, Alicia opened her mouth to speak but instead burped so loud it echoed off the walls of the Great Hall and an unusual silence followed. As solemnly as he could, Fred stood up and clapped. George briskly followed suit, then Oliver, and soon even Professor Lupin and Dumbledore were clapping. Angelina looked like she was about to keel over from embarrassment.
As the group settled down, Oliver slipped his hand into Katie's and leaned closer to her. "Can I talk to you before you leave?"
"Yeah, we'll talk on the train, k?"
Oliver smiled. "Ok."
As they found a compartment and put their trunks away, however, it seemed obvious that the two wouldn't get much time alone. Fred, George, Alicia, and Angelina had all piled into their compartment and were currently playing a game that the twins had invented; it looked like a mix between Exploding Snap and a Muggle card game called Speed. As the train started off and the quadruplet immersed themselves in their game, Oliver took Katie's hand again and quietly led her out of the compartment. They walked down to the end of the hall and stepped into the little space between the last the compartment and the wall of the train car; it was just big enough to allow the two to sit side-by-side comfortably.
"So what's up?" Katie prompted.
Oliver played with his hands a little, then looked at Katie and smiled slightly. "Well, you know I'll be busy most of the summer with training with Puddlemere United—"
"Of course, and I bet you'll have a blast!" Katie interjected quickly.
Oliver grinned. "Oh yeah, I'm really excited! But anyway, I have a couple of weeks off in July, so maybe do you think I could visit you and, you know, see how you're holding up?"
"Oh yeah, absolutely!" Katie replied, her spirits rising suddenly. "That'd be wonderful!"
"Good. I'm really proud of you, Kates... you've so strong this year, you have no idea."
Katie blushed and looked down her knees, absentmindedly playing with her necklace. "I couldn't have done it without you, Oliver."
"No, I don't think I couldn't done it without you." Oliver stooped a little to find Katie's eyes, and when he had them, kissed her softly. Katie smiled.
"Something funny?" the keeper asked, raising an eyebrow.
"No, no, of course not," Katie replied, kissing him back.
Oliver broke away this time, trying hard not to smile. "No, tell me! What's so funny?"
Katie giggled. "Nothing! Merlin, just kiss me!" She leaned towards him again but he dodged.
"Hey, I'm not kissing anybody until you tell me what you're laughing about."
Katie sighed and rolled her eyes. "Well, see, I was just picturing the twins and Leesh and Lina in our compartment, wondering what we're doing out here."
"Oh, please, I know exactly what they're thinking!"
"Of course; they think we're snogging."
"Well... why aren't we?"
Twenty minutes later Katie and Oliver returned to the compartment, where their long-time friends were still playing their card game. Fred looked up and grinned.
"Been snogging again, love birds?" he asked.
Katie looked over at Oliver and laughed; he had lip gloss all over his lips.
"Only a little."
A/N: So how was it? I hope the ending was good enough to make up for my extended absence, but with a whole summer ahead of me, I think I can squeeze in some writing time. I'm playing with the idea of writing a Marauders story, with James and Lily and the gang, and I might write a sequel to Changes if I feel like it. Ideas?
Review or I'll call blizzards upon your lovely sunny summer days! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA!